If you have made the decision or are considering the decision of filing for bankruptcy, there is important information you must know about credit counseling and debt education programs. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may be required to attend both pre-bankruptcy counseling as well as post-bankruptcy debtor education. First of all, it is important to know that you should only attend credit counseling (of either type) with an approved organization. How do you discern a legitimate organization from a scam? The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has included a list of all the U.S.’s approved organizations. The ones in San Antonio are:
Christian Financial Services
506 E. Ramsey
San Antonio, TX 78216
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater San Antonio
6851 Citizens Parkway
San Antonio, TX 78229
Any institution that claims to be an approved credit counseling organization but does not show up on the approved debtor education list should be avoided. These institutions typically want to make a profit but are not a legitimate means of completing the mandated counseling for bankruptcy. While there are many approved credit counseling organizations, not all may be the right fit for you. A San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer from our firm could walk you through the process of choosing a good debt counseling service. Some of the questions Malaise Law Firm might ask you include:
- What are the primary services you need?
- How much will this service cost?
- What type of information will the agency ask of you?
- Are there any alternative payment options?
- Is this program willing to help build a plan for success in the future?
It is also important to know what you need before you go looking for a credit counseling agency. Do you need an organization who can assist you with pre-filing counseling? Post-filing education? Both? Pre-bankruptcy counseling is geared at evaluating your current financial situation. Before you can file, you must prove that you successfully completed this counseling. A counselor will go over your finances as well as any alternatives to bankruptcy that might be available to you. If there is a better way to tackle your debt than bankruptcy, this phase of counseling is geared at helping you find it.
Once an individual has successfully filed for bankruptcy, they can begin the process of post-filing debtor education. This type of course will teach a petitioner how to develop a successful budget and stick to it, as well as how to use credit positively rather than racking up debt again. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this phase of debtor education typically takes longer than pre-bankruptcy counseling. To learn more about choosing counseling that best meets your needs, call the firm today.